Deterrence by Imperfect Sanctions – A Public Good Experiment

36 Pages Posted: 25 May 2013  

Christoph Engel

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods; University of Bonn - Faculty of Law & Economics; Universität Osnabrück - Faculty of Law

Date Written: May 2013

Abstract

Sanctions are often so weak that a money maximizing individual would not be deterred. In this paper I show that they may nonetheless serve a forward looking purpose if sufficiently many individuals are averse against advantageous inequity. Using the Fehr/Schmidt model (QJE 1999) I define three alternative channels: (a) identical preferences are common knowledge, but inequity is not pronounced enough to sustain cooperation; (b) heterogeneous preferences are common knowledge; (c) there is preference uncertainty. In a linear public good with punishment meted out by a disinterested participant, I test two implications of the model: (a) participants increase contributions in reaction to imperfect punishment; (b) imperfect punishment helps sustain cooperation if participants experience free-riding.

Keywords: Deterrence, Public Good Experiment, Inequity Aversion, imperfect sanction, Fehr/Schmidt preferences, centralized punishement

JEL Classification: H41, D63, K42, C91, D03, K14, K13

Suggested Citation

Engel, Christoph, Deterrence by Imperfect Sanctions – A Public Good Experiment (May 2013). MPI Collective Goods Preprint, No. 2013/9. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2269644 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2269644

Christoph Engel (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

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D-53113 Bonn, 53113
Germany
+049 228 914160 (Phone)
+049 228 9141655 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.coll.mpg.de/engel.html

University of Bonn - Faculty of Law & Economics

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Universität Osnabrück - Faculty of Law

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